Scenes for new Robert the Bruce film to be shot in Berwick
Berwick Old Bridge is set to be transformed into London Bridge for a new film about Robert the Bruce.
Filming for Outlaw King, starring US actor Chris Pine as the 14th century king of the Scots, is scheduled to take place in the Northumbrian town on Monday and Tuesday, October 9 and 10.
Location manager Matt Risebrow told a meeting of Berwick Town Council on Monday night: “We are starting our preparation work on September 29 and then building up to shoot on October 9-10, when we will be turning the old bridge into medieval London Bridge and turning the dockside into a medieval Glaswegian market, so I hope it will be fun.
“We will have a bit of a footprint around the town, so we hope we don’t disturb you too much. I hope you enjoy it.”
Mayor Gregah Roughead said: “It’s really positive news for our town and should be a great way to put us back on the map and show what Berwick can do.”
It is understood several road closures are planned while filming takes place.
Filming got under way at Linlithgow Palace in West Lothian last month, with scenes due to be shot at locations across the country.
Advertising for the film describes it as “a true David versus Goliath story of how the great 14th century Scottish outlaw king Robert the Bruce used cunning and bravery to defeat and repel the much larger and better equipped occupying English army”.
The action takes place in 1306 as Ayrshire-born Bruce fights to regain control after being crowned king of Scots only to be defeated in a surprise attack and made an outlaw by the English.
Berwick was pivotal in those times. In 1318, King Robert I, as he was by then, took control of Berwick and re-established it as a Scottish trading port.
The film is expected to be released on streaming site Netflix next year.
It is directed by Northumbrian-born David Mackenzie, nominated for an Oscar last year for Hell or High Water, also starring Pine, best known for playing James Kirk in the new Star Trek film series.
It also stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh and James Cosmo.
California-born Pine, 37, is far from the first non-Scot to play one of the country’s heroes, following in the footsteps of Australian Mel Gibson as William Wallace in 1995’s Braveheart and Northern Irishman Liam Neeson in the title role of the same year’s Rob Roy.
A previous film on the same subject, The Bruce in 1996, partly shot in Peebles and also featuring Brian Blessed and Oliver Reed, did star a Scotsman, however – Sandy Welch, and he was portrayed by a Scot, Angus Macfadyen, in Braveheart too.
King Robert I was born in 1274 and died in 1329. His body was buried at Dunfermline in Fife and his heart at Melrose.